Monday, March 12, 2012

A Pinteresting Discussion

I'll admit that at first I resisted the urge to join Pinterest.  I'm not much for being a bandwagoner, but eventually I caved to the peer pressure.  I mean how could I say no to the eye candy and inspiration that can be found there?!  Very basically, if loving Pinterest is wrong, I don't want to be right.

For those of you that have been living under a rock, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where you can create collections by "pinning" the ideas you find online.  So when you see a great project or recipe you can add it to one of your pin boards making it really easy to reference later.  It's an addicting little time sucker, but it's a great way to keep all of your favorite ideas, projects, inspiration images, recipes, and more categorized.  I'm nothing if not a complete geek when it comes to any and all things related to organization.

Although, there are a few kinks in the pintastic system.  Let's just say that in some ways the honeymoon is over.  For instance, I've noticed that many times images aren't pinned from the original source sending you on a wild goose chase when you're trying to find the details/tutorial behind an image.  I've also had many of my own projects pinned from sites other than my own.  I'm sure I made many pin mistakes when I first started; but now I've made it a habit to only repin images that have linked the original source, and I only pin from the direct URL rather than the main blog URL.  This post on "proper pintiquette" from Amy @  Positively Splendid is really helpful in explaining the ins and outs of good practices on Pinterest.

However, I'm left wondering if anyone outside of those that are bloggers or etsy shop owners actually cares if a pin is linked to the original source?  I mean if I wasn't a blogger and I was on Pinterest purely for entertainment purposes would I care if the images I pinned were giving credit where credit is due?

I think Pinterest is really changing things in the blog world.  I loved this post from The Nester on Pinterest and Blogging as I've found that much of my own blog traffic comes from Pinterest.  I took her advice in regards to my photos, and I do think that it helps to add a quick description and a watermark.

DIY Chalkboard Globe 

Over the weekend, I came across this post from Kristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.  To say that my eyes were opened is kind of an understatement.  I certainly did not read the fine print when I signed up for my Pinterest account, did you?  I read the post that Kristen made reference to at The Knoed, and it definitely made me think.  I didn't realize when I signed up for an account that I was agreeing to this:

1. That I own whatever I'm pinning or have permission to do so from the original source. 

2. That I agree to let Pinterest sell anything that I pin. 


Did you know this when you signed up for your account?  I understand that ultimately Pinterest is just trying to cover themselves in case any issue should arise from users pinning illegal content.  I'm just wondering what sites don't allow you to pin their images?  I think most, if not all, bloggers allow you to pin their images, in fact many bloggers have added the "pin it" button to their posts to make it easier for you as a reader to pin from their site.  Pinterest has, as I mentioned before, become a main source of traffic for many bloggers, so it's obvious why a blogger would want to promote their blog via Pinterest.

I'm wondering then how would I know if I pinned something illegally?  I certainly would not have pinned an image from a site that said in big, bold letters at the top - PLEASE DO NOT PIN MY IMAGES.  Are there actual sites that say this?  I see number 1, listed above, being a problem for users only because I seriously doubt anyone intentionally pins images illegally.  To hold users responsible seems a little unfair, but at the same time I'm not sure how else they (meaning Pinterest) can keep themselves legally covered if they don't hold users responsible for what they pin.

In reference to number 2 above,  I see this being a double-edged sword for bloggers.  On the one hand you don't want to bite the hand that feeds you, but at the same time if they have the right to sell your content then you're kind of giving them permission to bite you.  For instance, Pinterest can according to their current terms sell any images that you pin.  So if they want to sell pictures, of say, my kitchen they would be within their legal right to do so, and I would have no say in the matter.  I think for the most part that any company that would buy images from Pinterest would probably look to credit the source of the image in some way, but legally they are not bound to do that.

Anyhow, I'm not a lawyer, but after reading the terms I agreed to I feel like I need to go to law school!  For the record, I'm not abandoning the bandwagon.  I love Pinterest!  As any real relationships go - in the words of the hotness that is Adam Levine (if you don't watch The Voice something is wrong with you, just sayin') - it's not always rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that moves us along.  I'm hopeful that all the legal mumbo jumbo will get worked out, and that it will be easier for all users to identify those sites that do not want their images pinned.  To make things very clear about where Our Fifth House stands on the issue:  I hereby give you permission to pin any image you want from my blog, just please try to pin it from the blog post and not just the main blog page.  

So, what are your thoughts on this pinteresting discussion?

Did you know what you signed up for when you started your account?  I wonder what the average Pinterest user (one that isn't a blogger or etsy shop owner or professional photographer) thinks about all of this.  I can't help but think of my mom who checks her e-mail like once a month, who isn't on Facebook, who doesn't even know what a tweet is, who is anti-almost anything online, who reads my blog (and no others), who started a Pinterest account - I certainly don't want to see her slammed with legal fees because she accidentally pinned something illegally.  How many other users are just like her?  Pinterest is unlike all other social media, and I think it attracts a great many people who don't really know a ton about the way the internet works.  What do you think?

In other Pinterest related news, did you take the challenge?

I'm hoping to be done with my project in time!  And how 'bout my girl Cassie?!  Amazeballs right?!  


  1. It's amazing what is in there when you read the fine print. Pinterest has been a major source of traffic for me too but I do hate how the orginal sources are often gone.

  2. I found two of my photos on another's board with NO source, no links. It really made me question this whole thing. I'm thinking about getting off that wagon.

  3. I read the post from Kristin over the weekend, too, and the blog that she linked to. It made me a bit nervous as far as my liability. Of course I wouldn't intentionally pin anything unfairly, but like you, what have I pinned that I wasn't supposed to? Hopefully the kinks will get worked out. I'm definitely only pinning from original sources now, too.

  4. it is amazing about all the fine print- like jim said... i am not really a numbers or stats gal, so it doesn't really get to me, but i do always give credit to the blogger in description when pinning from their site originally. i just love all the inspiration... and that i can save ideas i see in one place.

  5. AntiqueChase - it can be very frustrating when your content isn't sourced correctly. I haven't ever seen a pin with no source? .....The thing is even if you close your account it won't stop others from pinning things from your site. I think maybe they should have a way to opt out if you don't want images pinned from your site - or a way for you to correct pins that haven't been sourced correctly.

    Cassie - I'm the same way about my stats - I never check them but many once a month. I think it's a great idea to give the blogger credit in your pin description!

    1. Hi Carmel,
      It just said "uploaded from the user"... I don't mind (I guess) pinning from my blog but when it was on pinterest with no link and then on her blog with no credit, that was a bit frustrating. I need to watermark I guess?

    2. There is a way that you can block your site from being pinned from. I'm not sure the exact source, but I'm sure a quick google would reveal it.

      Because of this issue, I went through and deleted all pins that didn't have a source or were from google or bing. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of great inspiration, but I feel a little better about the issue.

      I would suggest watermarking all/most content so that the original source can be found in the case the link is taken off.

  6. This is a fascinating discussion and raises so many good questions about sourcing and being responsible about giving credit to the right people. I've been reading a lot of the same concerns lately and I keep wondering if Pinterest is going to address them any time soon and if/when there will be a major lawsuit...

  7. I have not joined as I see a copious amount of legal and moral issues involved with the site. I foresee some folks being made an example of in major law suits just as when music was first downloaded on the internet.

  8. AAAAAh, thanks Carmel! I never get tired of seeing me in that collage of bloggers! :) I just saw all this hub-bub about Pinterest today...interesting and scary. But now, I get so much traffic from it I can't turn my back! Hopefully Pinterest will adjust their policy.

  9. It is frustrating to find a source for some Pinterest images, especially if you are required to site the original source by an affiliate (ie. Blogher). I would always like to give credit where it's due, but if I can't find the original source I can't repost a photo on my blog. I think watermarking your own photos and then also listing the original source as the description when you pin something should be commonplace. (I don't do either and need to start!)

  10. I'm almost positive I'll be deleting my pins and account soon. I'm sort of bored with Pinterest, and half of my pins lead to nowhere because the app is full of bugs :( Plus, I see legal issues coming up and I would rather not be part of all that (remember napster? Yuck!)
    Guess it's back to bookmarks for me!

  11. Yikes, I never read that fine print! I don't know how I feel about Pinterest having the right to sell anything users pin. Thank is a little crummy. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Carmel, I AM a lawyer and didn't read the fine print when signing up for Pinterest. I've read the posts you referenced above too. I definitely have reservations about using Pinterest now, but I'm so addicted I can't stop!!! If I ever do get sued for my Pinterest use, I'm hoping a judge would invalidate the contract as being too one-sided (p.s. that is NOT official legal advice, more like wishful thinking!). Fingers crossed that none of us ever get sued for using Pinterest. I'm hoping to link up to the challenge over on Cassie's blog, but I haven't even started my project yet. Yikes!!!

  13. Yikes! That is pretty crazy. Thank you for posting. I did not read the fine print but it does make me want to rethink why and actually if I need it and if it is even worth it. Hmmm...very interesting.

  14. I read that post on Kristen's blog and have read simmilar concerns. And to tell you the truth it got me thinking too, I don't think I will be pinning as much and if I do it will be from other bloggers who want to be pinned.


  15. I was so saddened by the news about the Terms of Pinterest. I know had I read the fine print when Pinterest started I never would have created my first Pinterest board. Like Suze, I hope that if any "pinners" actually were put in front of a judge the courts would understand that there is no malicious intent when we users save a Pin to our inspiration boards. Hopefully Pinterst will find a way to protect both its users and the sources of our pins. I cannot imagine going back to tearing pictures from magazines and dragging photos to my desktop into a folder marked "inspriation."

  16. You've raised some very valid and interesting questions regarding Pinterest. I would never intentionally pin something knowing it was "illegal" to do so. I have pinned an image from your blog, Carmel, but I made sure to give credit to you and mention the name of your blog. I don't take credit for anything unless it's truly mine. Another interesting question concerning the legal aspects: since so many people RE-pin others' images, would every single person who re-pinned also be held liable for that one image or only the original pinner? Repent ye pinners! Haha!

  17. So glad you wrote about this. Still haven't deleted my account. It is too bad that many of the pins bring you to the wrong source. I have even seen people pin off Tuesday's Treasures which goes back to me....I feel so bad.....I guess we do need to take the extra step to watermark our pictures. I just love how it is a place I can orgainze all my recipes, ideas, crafts, and not take room up on my hard drive....guess it's back to the drawing table.


Be nice or I'll tell your mom! xoxo -C


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